Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan speaks at Faculty of Social Science

September 15, 2016

Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan spoke at Western University

From left, Robert Andersen, Dean of the Faculty of Social Science, Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament for London North Centre,  the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, Amit Chakma, President of Western University, and Julie McMullin, Vice-Provost (International) of Western University.

The Faculty of Social Science welcomed the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science to announce the reinstatement of the Full-time University and College Academic Staff System (FT-UCASS) survey.

The survey presents a national picture of the socio-economic characteristics of full-time university teachers. The survey began in 1937 and it continued until 2011 due to budget constraints. In the intervening years, James Maclean from Western’s Department of Institutional Planning & Budgeting worked to continue collecting the data.

 “No matter how much technology advances, without good social and public policy to implement these advances, their full benefit will never be realized,” said Robert Andersen, Dean of the Faculty of Social Science. “We can’t responsibly study these issues—and policy makers can’t make informed decisions about them—without reliable data.”

“Today is about celebrating research. Research is exciting,” said Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament for London North Centre.

“It is a pleasure to be at Western today. Your researchers have worked so hard these past few years to bridge the data gap,” said Minister Duncan. “Today’s announcement represents another meaningful step to establish evidence-based decision making, while encouraging a more diverse and inclusive country.”

“Diversity is our strength, it’s not our weakness,” said Duncan. “We want all Canadians to equally share in the growth and success of our great nation. So it follows we as a government must encourage diversity at all levels from cabinet through to campus.”

Julie McMullin, Vice-Provost (International) for Western University and professor in Sociology spoke about her work with Statistics Canada data, and in particular working with Research Data Centres (RDC). Western University hosts an RDC, providing access to Statistics Canada data to researchers without having to travel to Ottawa.

“Having RDCs spread across the country at institutions of higher learning like Western has enabled us to be more productive in our research activities,” said McMullin.

“These RDCs are very important. We’ve made a new commitment to the RDC ourselves,” said Dean Andersen. “We are in the process of building the Institute for Social and Economic Policy, and the RDC will be one of the centerpieces of this Institute.” This will allow and encourage more students and faculty to be involved in using Statistics Canada data.

Statistics Canada will collect data from all Canadian universities beginning in September and its first results will be published in April 2017.